St Patrick's capitalise on errors
St Patrick's Athletic ... 4 Cork City ... 1 St Patrick's Athletic moved up to third place in the table - with a game in hand - and Cork City's title aspirations suffered a psychologically damaging blow as they were mercilessly outplayed at Richmond Park.
A frantic first half was thankfully punctuated by a delightful St Patrick's goal on 35 minutes and a second right on the interval.
Playing with three up front, St Patrick's pressed Cork's defence from the start and duly forced the error for their lead. Cork right-back Alan Carey had his clearance charged down by Tony Bird, who immediately fed the ball to Martin Russell. Scarcely believing the time and space afforded him, Russell produced a sublime chip over the Cork defence for Ger McCarthy.
The striker, back following an ankle injury, calmly lobbed the ball over Michael Devine and in off the far post.
St Patrick's might have been ahead earlier from the first clear opening of the half on 12 minutes.
The industrious Bird was again involved as he put the ball across goal after Devine parried his initial shot, with Charles Mbabazi volleying against the Cork crossbar.
Cork were struggling down their left and St Patrick's exposed that flank again for their second goal on 45 minutes. Billy Woods was caught in possession, with Bird sending Mbabazi in through the inside-right channel.
The Ugandan's right-foot shot had too much pace for Devine to hold and it squirmed free to roll over the line despite the efforts of Carey to keep it out.
Having been punished for their errors, Cork failed to capitalise on one by Paul Osam within two minutes of the resumption. Osam lost possession and Conor O'Grady fed John O'Flynn but the young striker's shot flew wide.
St Patrick's then killed the game with a well taken third goal three minutes later. Mbabazi put Bird through and the Welshman's low drive flew into the bottom corner.
Cork had left back Greg O'Halloran sent off for a foul on Mbabazi on 59 minutes before St Patrick's Athletic scored their fourth on the hour. Mbabazi dribbled across Cork's goal before firing home after Liam Kelly and McCarthy did the spade work.
George O'Callaghan found the top right-hand corner of Shay Kelly's net from an excellent free-kick for Cork's goal in the 74th minute.
ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC: S Kelly; Croly, Foley, Maguire, Burke; L. Kelly, Osam (Marney 69 mins.), Russell (Hughes 88 mins.); Mbabazi (McGuinness 82 mins.), McCarthy, Bird.
CORK CITY: Devine; Carey, Bennett, Cronin (Daly 68 mins.), O'Halloran; CT O' Brien, O'Grady (Mulligan 52 mins.), Reynolds, Woods (Mulconry 63 mins.); O' Flynn, O'Callaghan.
Referee: J Feighery (Dublin).